New York Archbishop Says Democratic Party ‘Slams the Door’ on Catholics

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The Democratic Party has abandoned Roman Catholics in America by demanding its candidates support abortion and by opposing tax credits for religious schools, the archbishop of New York said.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, one of the most prominent clerics in America, castigated the party that once counted Catholics as a reliable constituency.

“I’m a pastor, not a politician, and I’ve certainly had spats and disappointments with politicians from both of America’s leading parties. But it saddens me, and weakens the democracy millions of Americans cherish, when the party that once embraced Catholics now slams the door on us,” Dolan wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

Dolan pointed to the party establishment’s rejection of U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski, a pro-life seventh-term Catholic Democrat who narrowly won a primary March 20 against a left-wing challenger, as well as Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez’s statement last year that Democratic candidates must support abortion.

He also noted that in New York state Democrats have blocked a bill that would allow tax credits for religious schools and other non-public schools.

He called to mind Archbishop John Hughes, who established Catholic schools in New York City before the Civil War, and Dolores Grier, a black convert to Catholicism and former vice chancellor of the archdiocese Dolan now leads who championed the pro-life cause. Grier, who died a month ago, said she had learned from the Reverend Jesse Jackson that abortion providers target blacks disproportionately. Indeed, Dolan noted that more black babies were aborted in New York City last year than were born there.

“The values Archbishop Hughes and Dolores Grier cherished — the dignity and sanctity of human life, the importance of Catholic schools, the defense of a baby’s civil rights — were, and still are, widely embraced by Catholics. This often led Catholics to become loyal Democrats. I remember my own grandmother whispering to me, ‘We Catholics don’t trust those Republicans’,” Dolan wrote.

“Such is no longer the case, a cause of sadness to many Catholics, me included. The two causes so vigorously promoted by Hughes and Grier — the needs of poor and middle-class children in Catholic schools, and the right to life of the baby in the womb — largely have been rejected by the party of our youth.”

Dolan didn’t endorse the Republican Party or even mention it in his column.

But he apologized in the column to Hughes, Grier, and even his own grandmother for criticizing the Democratic Party.

“ … I’m sorry to have to write this,” Dolan said. “But not as sad as you are to know it is true.

As of Friday night, the Democratic National Committee had not commented on Dolan’s column.